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Michael Smith of the Globe suggests today that the number of unsigned draft picks for the Patriots heading into training camp isn't a good sign. "As of yesterday evening, indications were that New England still had not agreed to terms with its second first-round pick, Benjamin Watson, third-round pick Guss Scott, and its second fourth-rounder, Cedric Cobbs," reports Smith. ... He also reports that exclusive-rights free agents Tom Ashworth and David Givens will sign one-year tenders on Wednesday and be on time for the first practice of training camp.
Our own Bryan Morry of Patriots Football Weekly confirmed with a league source late Tuesday that the Patriots listed nine players on the active-PUP (physically unable to perform) list, meaning they enter training camp with a pre-existing injury and have not been cleared to practice. The list, confirmed by the team, includes linebackers Rosevelt Colvin, Matt Chatham and Eric Alexander; tackle Matt Light, long snapper Lonie Paxton, tight end Christian Fauria, safety Eugene Wilson and defensive tackle DeVonte Peterson. Quarterback Jim Miller will start camp on NFI, the non-football injury list. ... The Patriots also announced the signing of tight end Zeron Flemister, who spent the last four seasons with the Washington Redskins.
The Boston Herald's Michael Felger continues his pre-camp position breakdown of the Pats, reviewing the special teams. "When your biggest problem is the punter, you're generally in good shape," cracks Felger.
In sandbag fashion, Tom E. Curran of the ProJo writes that the psychological situation surrounding the Patriots is complex, making it difficult to meet expectations this season. He cites that anything but a repeat will simply be a failure to defend their title. "And if one doesn't think the weight of that is significant, consider this: Not only have the last five Super Bowl champions failed to repeat, all except the 2001 Baltimore Ravens failed to even make the playoffs the following year," says Curran.
On the other hand, the ProJo's Jim Donaldson has few doubts about the Patriots chances in the AFC East. It's not going to be that simple for the Pats to once again win their division, but there's no question they go into the season as odds-on favorites," says Donaldson. "Who's going to beat 'em?"
Mike Reiss writes in his Patriots Notebook for the MetroWest Daily News that one player to keep an eye on during training camp is defensive lineman Ty Warren. ... He also reports that agent Drew Rosenhaus, who represents both Scott and Cobbs, said "talks are ongoing" regarding both Patriot rookies. "In the past, Rosenhaus has sometimes waited until the eve of camp to complete deals, which could be the case with Scott and Cobbs," suggests Reiss. ... The notebook also included some insight into the agent status of Watson. The University of Georgia product originally signed with agent Darrell Wills of IMG, who was subsequently decertified by the NFL Players Association for interfering with the contractual relationship between IMG and its clients. Watson then switched to agent Tom Condon, also of IMG. "Since Condon and Wills worked for the same company, it's hard to imagine the change in agents would impact negotiations with the Patriots," suggests Reiss. "But it's possible the Patriots might have set some form of parameters with Wills on draft day, which would have been moot once Condon took over."